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Valtteri Bottas

Palmer: Mercedes strategy call came at no cost to Bottas

Valtteri Bottas was reluctant to let Sir Lewis Hamilton past him at the Spanish Grand Prix despite team orders to do so, and has said that he is there to race. Former F1 driver Jolyon Palmer has given his take on the incident.

Team orders have been something of a feature in the 2021 F1 season to date. Daniel Ricciardo was asked to let Lando Norris pass him at Imola to go for a podium, while Sebastian Vettel swapped with Lance Stroll in Portugal in an attempt to get in the points.

Last weekend at the Spanish Grand Prix, both Red Bull and Mercedes requested that Sergio Perez and Valtteri Bottas let their title-chasing teammates pass, with differing approaches from the drivers.

Perez easily let Max Verstappen pass him after the Dutchman's pitstop, while Bottas held Sir Lewis Hamilton up for two thirds of a lap before the champion overtook him into Turn 10.

Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff has said he understood Bottas' reluctance to let Hamilton by, and former F1 driver Jolyon Palmer thinks the Finn's decision was based on his position at the time the call was made, he told F1.com.

"From a driver’s point of view, getting out of the way of your team mate in a race can often feel like the final nail in the coffin for the afternoon, particularly if you are on a different strategy, which is usually the reason you are being told to move out of the way in the first place.

"It shows clearly that your team is fully backing your team mate and relatively disregarding your chances at that stage.

"But whilst it’s frustrating, you’ve got to consider things on a case-by-case basis, and fundamentally remember who pays the bills.

"If Bottas had been asked to give up a win on Sunday then I’m sure there would be some question marks again, and maybe he wouldn’t have obliged at all. But this call from Mercedes helped Hamilton to win the race, at no cost to Bottas – he was pretty set in third whatever happened."

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